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October 16, 2000


Question from Asheville, North Carolina, USA:

I am a 21 year old female who has had type�1A diabetes for 14 years. I am usually a very calm, laid back, friendly, and easy going person, even in stressful situations. Recently, whenever my blood sugar drops, I have noticed that I become a rude, quick tempered person and usually will say things that I do not mean. I feel terrible about it afterwards, but yet, during my hypo episode, I cannot help myself. Why is this happening to me? Why is it occurring now when it never has before?


From: DTeam Staff

As people change and the stressors in their lives change, their diabetes management can also fluctuate. I realize that you are upset with your moods and behavior of late when your blood sugar levels drop. Ask yourself all of these important questions: Are you sure that you are eating enough of the right calories to keep things stable? Is your job causing you more stress than it used to? Are you taking as good care of you as you are of others?

Next, realize that nobody is perfect. Even the high and the mighty have times when they act poorly. You seem to be really hard on yourself for lapses in calmness.

Last, tune into the fact that your mind and body work together. Pay attention to your “beneath the surface” feelings about having diabetes. Is there anger, frustration, and anxiety that may only now be surfacing? Talk it out with someone who has the talent to be really helpful.

Are you on an insulin pump? If not, you might consider it.

Additional comments from Dr. Tessa Lebinger:

Personally, I wouldn’t look for a psychological reason for your behavior. It is well known that people may lose control over they behavior when their blood sugars are low. Perhaps you are having more low blood sugars than before and are losing the early warning symptoms before you develop the behavior changes. The most important thing to do is work with your doctor, dietitian, and or nurse to try and avoid these lows. Perhaps you need to loosen up on your control a little bit for a while. Becoming rude is hard enough, but you don’t want to lose the warning symptoms completely and pass out or have a seizure.

I know it must be embarrassing for someone like you who sounds like such an even-tempered, considerate person accept what you do when you are low. Most likely, if you are able to explain to the people you were rude to that your blood sugar was low and you didn’t mean what you said, they will understand. They may even be able to help you realize your blood sugar is falling before you notice, and may be able to get you to eat some food even sooner.


[Editor’s comment: To help you decide if the pump might be viable option, check out Is pumping for you?.